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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Garden Fresh -- Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppers


A couple of years ago or so my dad grew these yummy but somewhat spicy banana peppers in our garden.  I also had basil in the garden that year, so it was an easy matter to cut the pepper lengthwise, remove the seeds, spread with cream cheese and then sprinkle with snipped basil.  Delicious.  A great simple “salad” too. :-)

Other options:
Use non-spicy peppers or spicier peppers
Use cheddar cheese paste instead
Use other fresh herbs: chives, oregano, cilantro, thyme
Add green onions

By the way, the cream cheese helps to moderate the heat.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mango Salsa


Recently I bought some mangoes for a treat for us, but to my disappointment, I discovered they were too sour to eat by themselves.  I recalled the fact that I’d seen a recipe at some point for mango salsa and thought I’d look it up online.  I found several recipes, but thought the combination of ingredients sounded a bit weird.  My husband, however, thought I should at least give it a try.  I picked one recipe that seemed the closest to what I wanted and then made it up to my own needs and tastes.  So, here’s the basic “plan”:

Finely chopped mango (1 and half small mangos made about 2 servings.)
Snipped green onion
Red pepper flakes
A little snipped cilantro
(Add a little sugar if the mango is still too sour – but – add it only a tiny bit at a time or you may get too much.  If your mangos seem too sweet, you may want to add a touch of lemon juice to add tartness.)

This salsa is good served with meat.  I think it would be especially good with pork.  It would be a zippy sauce to make a non-traditional hamburger topping. :-)  And, an added perk is the lovely color this adds to a meal!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Threefold Promise -- A poem by Annie Johnson Flint


The Threefold Promise

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Oh, wonderful promises given
To those who wait on the Lord;
Strength for the faint who have fallen,
Power for weakness outpoured.

Blessed the threefold assurance
Thrilling the soul like a song:
They shall mount up as the eagles
On wide wings and swift wings and strong;

Run with the stride of the racer,
Leaping unwearied and free,
Till he comes to the end of his journey
And the crown of his effort shall see.

But the word for the worn and the weary,
Who know not the rapture of wings,
Who know not the joy of the runner,
What infinite comfort it brings!

Walk and not faint; the slow steppings,
The plodding dull round of the days,
The toil and the heat and the burdens,
The wearying halts and delays.

Oh, promise for those who are walking,
Who falter and stumble and fall,
The courage, the strength and the patience,
This is the sweetest of all.

Annie Johnson Flint

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Brazil Nut Sensation

This was one of my Gramma Hoover’s recipes.  It was one of my dad’s favorites, but others of us like it really well too. :-)  It is rather pricey to make with the cost of Brazil nuts being what it is, but it makes a great rare treat.  I haven’t made this cake for some years now, and I interpreted her somewhat cryptic method of writing down recipes the best I could.

Brazil Nut Sensation

Sift together:

3/4 C. flour
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl put:

3 C. shelled Brazil nuts (whole)
2 8 oz. packages pitted dates
1 C. well-drained maraschino cherries

Sift flour mixture over nut mixture.  Mix with hands until nuts and fruit are well-coated.

In another bowl:

Beat until foamy: 3 eggs
Add: 1 tsp. vanilla

Stir this into nut mixture.  Spread evenly in 2 9x5x3 bread pans, greased and lined with waxed paper.

Bake: 1 hr. 45 min. (or 1 hour to 45 minutes?) – or until cake tester comes out clean.

Cool, wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate up to 5-6 weeks.  (Or freeze.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The thousand word project: Tender Strength

Normally I don’t write much with these pictures as I want them to speak for themselves; but this picture, on this day, needs a little more explanation. I found this photo moving without any explanation. The strong arms, the tender yet almost sad look on the mother’s face touched my heart; and the photographer’s error in cutting the baby’s head off at just that spot is almost as if it were intentional to emphasize the mother. By the way, did you notice that she is wearing an apron? :-)

But, there is more to this story. 

This sweet-yet-tired faced lady was my Gramma’s step-aunt, Margaret Gallup. She was the sister of Gramma's step-mother. Gramma always felt closer to this side of the family than to her own mother's family, so, of course, my mother did too.  

Aunt Margaret was a special lady. Only months before this picture was taken, before Baby Jane was born, Aunt Margaret lost her husband. She had a daughter in her teens and a younger son and daughter.  Her oldest daughter, Helen, dropped whatever plans she had for her life and went to work to support the family so that they could stay together. Aunt Margaret submitted to this, maintained the home, and raised her children on her own. Those were tough times. God’s enabling power made all this possible, and He blessed them in many ways. 

My admiration of her is great. I’m also humbled to think that I chose the title for this picture before I even knew the whole story. It not only describes this picture, it describes the lady herself. My mom and Gramma love her dearly and esteemed her highly. Through them, I do too. I look forward to meeting her someday in Heaven.

May God bless the godly mothers, the godly wish-they-were-mothers and hope-to-be-mothers; the godly aunts, grandmothers, cousins and sisters. We need more ladies of tender strength.

1 Thessalonians 2:7  But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
Ephesians 6:10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Graham Crackers

My sister made some graham crackers once years ago.  They were pretty good, but quite different than “store bought”.  We never made them again.  A couple years ago or so I told a friend I’d try to find that recipe for her.  Turns out it wasn’t in the book my mom and I both thought it was in.  I found this one in a magazine I’d saved, but I’m not sure it’s the one my sister made since there were no smudges or telltale marks to show it had ever been used before. ;-)  Anyway, I finally got around to trying this recipe out this year, and here it is.

Graham Crackers

1/3 C. oil
1/2 C. honey
1 Tbs. molasses
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 C. wheat flour (presumably meaning whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 C milk

Mix liquids first except milk.  Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk. If dough is too sticky, add more flour.  Roll into smallish walnut size balls and flatten with your hands.  Place about 1/2 an inch apart on lightly greased OR parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Prick with a fork.  Bake a 300F until edges are slightly browned.  Cool on cookie sheets about 5 minutes before removing to wire racks.  Can be frozen in airtight containers.

Note: I added a bit of lemon juice to this recipe to try to make it taste more like the graham crackers my friend and I enjoy at a restaurant.  The change may have added some flavor, but it didn’t make these taste more like the restaurant’s variety.  These are good, not very sweet, and quite filling.

I also changed the method of rolling them.  The recipe calls for rolling them out and cutting them into squares.  The dough seemed to me to be of the sort that would stick to the surface, so I opted for rolling them into balls and flattening by hand.  It worked very well, and saved some frustration I suspect. :-)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Laying Aside Weights -- The Heaviest Cross -- A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint


This poem expresses so well some of the thoughts I’ve had regarding  laying aside of weights that I had to make it part of the series.  Miss Flint says so much in such a short space.  I love her poetry.

The Heaviest Cross

It is not His cross that is heavy;
It is those that our hands have made
That hinder us on our journey,
On our aching shoulders laid;
There is strength for the load He gives us,
And balm for the thorn He sends,
But none for the needless burdens
And none for our selfish ends.

We bear a burden of sorrow;
We carry a weight of gold;
We cling to some treasured idol,
And will not loose our hold:
We bend beneath trouble and worries;
We drag a load of wrong;
And we cry that the cross is heavy,
And sigh that the way is long.

Let us drop the sin that besets us;
Let us cast aside our fears;
Let us give our grief to Jesus;
And break our pitcher of tears;
Let us learn of the meek and lowly
Who giveth the weary rest;
Let us take His yoke upon us,
And walk with Him abreast;

For His yoke is easy to carry,
And His burden is light in weight;
He will do His share of the labor,
For He is a true yoke-mate.
Are we weary and heavy-laden?
Are we anxious and full of care?
That is not the cross of His giving,
But the one that we make and bear.

Annie Johnson Flint

Matthew 11:28-30  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.